India women's hockey team can create history in Tokyo: Helen Mary

The Indian women's team has made rapid strides at the world level with significant performances in major tournaments over the past three to four years.

The Indian women's hockey team

FILE PHOTO: The Indian women's hockey team in January 2020.   -  The Hindu

Fine-tuning a few aspects of their game in the run-up to the Olympics will help the Indian women's hockey players create history, says former goalkeeper Helen Mary.

The Indian women's team has made rapid strides at the world level with significant performances in major tournaments over the past three to four years.

"The way they played in Argentina and Germany recently, I feel they are 90 per cent ready. Some fine tuning of their game in the upcoming weeks and I surely believe they can create history in Tokyo. The tri-colours will fly high in Tokyo," Helen said on an episode of Hockey Te Charcha.

"The way they played in Argentina recently... even though they couldn't register a win against the world no. 2 squad, the style they played and the confidence they showed while playing against the home team on their home ground, was something I have never seen in them before," she added.

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Helen, who had made her international debut in 1992, closely worked with the Indian women's side ahead of the Rio Olympics as the team's goalkeeping coach.

In her career spanning over a decade, she contributed to the team's success at several top international tournaments, including the historic golds in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2004 Asia Cup and silver at the 1998 Asian Games among other feats.

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Drawing comparison to the support system they had during her heyday to the current Indian set up, Helen said there is a more systematic and scientific approach in place now.

"There is a stark difference in how the teams train today and how we trained. The approach they have now is very scientific and it's great that the team has a big support staff who look into every small detail right from fitness, diet, recovery to workload every week.

"Everything is planned in advance and each player's progress is mapped on a day-to-day basis. I sometimes regret that we didn't have this kind of systematic approach when we played."

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